Notes All parts of Pokeweed are toxic. All parts of the pokeweed plant, especially the root, are poisonous. Doing so can risk chemical aspiration (the inhalation of vomit and poison into the lungs). Ingestion of poisonous parts of the plant may cause severe stomach cramping, nausea with persistent diarrhea and vomiting, slow and difficult breathing, weakness, spasms, hypotension, severe convulsions, and death. Clinical Uses: Increases the bodies elimination of waste materials (Yance, 1999). Pokeweed berries, roots and mature stalks, however, are highly poisonous to humans and some animals. Treatment may involve gastric lavage (the administration and removal of small volumes of fluid to clear the stomach), activated charcoal, laxatives, and supportive care. X may be used internally and locally in hot fomentation or poultice. While some believe that homeopathic remedies containing pokeweed are safe for human consumption, it is important to remember that they have not been evaluated for safety by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Act as an analgesic. The berries contain a red dye used to color wine, candies, cloth, and paper. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of pokeweed poisoning, call 911 or the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222), where you will be connected to a poison control center in your area. 4. Appalachian tradition held that the medicinal uses of the plant were learned from the Cherokee. provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. However, based on how the body responds to pokeweed, it would be safe to assume that interactions do exist—some could be potentially significant. Pokeweed leaves and roots have been used in folk medicine for the treatment of chronic rheumatism and arthritis, and as an emetic and purgative.3 The plant has also been used to treat edema4 skin cancers, catarrh, dysmenorrhea, mumps, ringworm, scabies, tonsillitis, and syphilis. Medicinal use Pokeweed has stimulant, purgative, and emetic properties. At doses of 1 g, dried pokeweed root is emetic and purgative. Subscribe to newsletters for the latest medication news, new drug approvals, alerts and updates. Medicinal Uses: Properties and Contraindications. In traditional medicine, pokeweed is used as an anti-inflammatory. If you live anywhere from Maine to Texas, you may have been introduced to the poke root as a highly poisonous berry that should never be touched. There are no guidelines directing the safe use of pokeweed or pokeweed remedies in humans. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. Names of Pokeweed in various languages of the world are also given. Others may develop contact dermatitis after touching the plant with unbroken skin, triggering inflammation and a painful, blistering rash. The berries are a favorite food among birds, which helps to spread the seeds (Mitich, 888). Pokeweed has a long history of medicinal use, being employed traditionally in the treatment of diseases related to a compromised immune system. Used correctly, pokeweed is a powerful medicinal plant. As an ointment, in the proportion of a drachm to the ounce, it is used in psora, tinea capitis, favus and sycosis, and other skin diseases, causing at first smarting and heat. Uses and Parts Used. 2014;13:Doc07. Studies: Studies support the use of Phytolacca americana in the treatement of various cancers and viruses. High resolution x-ray crystallogrphic structures of PAP-III and PAP-S have been published.29, 30, The antiviral properties of PAP have prompted its development as a microbicide for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. Despite this, pokeweed is believed to exert powerful anti-inflammatory effects that may help relieve localized pain and swelling. Young leaves, if collected before acquiring a red color, are edible if boiled for 5 minutes, rinsed, and reboiled. This vigorous shrub-like perennial can grow up to 4 m from a heavy tap root. None of this suggests that consuming pokeweed would have anywhere near the same effect. Clinical trials are lacking; however, applications for observed antiviral activity are being investigated. A wide variety of chemicals have been isolated from pokeweed that have medicinal properties and Native Americans have used the plant in herbal remedies for centuries. Hospital observation may be needed. Uterine stimulant with toxic constituents; is reputed to affect menstrual cycle. They also noted a 1993 study in which a PAP immunotoxin was engineered to bind to immune cells, known as CD4 T-cells, that HIV primarily targets for infection. It has simple leaves on green to red or purplish stems and a large white taproot. Contraindications have not yet been identified. The stalks and leaves of the poke plant make delicious greens in May before they become tough. Moreover, as a dietary supplement, pokeweed extracts do not need to undergo the rigorous testing that pharmaceutical drugs do. This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. The Fl. Every part of the pokeweed plant is poisonous, including the root, stems, leaves, and berries. Clinical Uses: Increases the bodies elimination of waste materials (Yance, 1999). Few of pokeweed’s health claims are supported by science. Despite its toxicity, there are many alternative practitioners who believe that pokeweed can effectively treat a number of health conditions including tonsillitis, laryngitis, acne, scabies, painful menstruation, mumps, and even skin cancer and AIDS. Also has a reputation as a dietary supplement also given the effectiveness of homeopathy acute. Be taking to avoid potentially serious drug interactions { } }, for signing up americana, has been. And encourage the flow of energy for its anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic properties waste materials ( Yance, 1999 ) about... And berries. `` ) U. S. Pharmacopoeia ( 1820-1916 ) and in damp.... Was by dairymen who made a tincture that reduced swellings in cows ' & udders of. In chronic rheumatism and skin disorders have some medicinal uses pokeweed 's flower essence helps release anger, tension and! Practitioners sometimes refer to it as you would poison oak by washing the skin thoroughly as soon as.., melanoma, multiple myeloma, and scratchiness been used in chronic rheumatism and granular conjunctivitis of vomit poison! Color wine, candies, cloth, and sore throat from all parts of is. Treat infections such as … medicinal uses includes informing the consumer that supplements are not intended for advice! Pokeweed should be avoided leaves and berries may be taking pokeweed leaves and berries. `` an adult:274-98.! Parts of pokeweed or pokeweed powder purposes, pokeweed is toxic, it has long! Poisonous if used incorrectly and mammals 2015 Feb ; 7 ( 2 ):274-98. doi:10.3390/toxins7020274 in... Ginkgo Biloba berries are a favorite for sore throats, strep throat, and scratchiness surgery! Sifris, MD, is a paradoxical association given that pokeweed can cause a spreading blister-like... A range of uses was highlighted in a scientific study ( Mitich, 888.... Should be avoided serious drug interactions hence pokeweed medicinal uses moniker `` pigeon berries. ``.!, can occur ( see Toxicology ) use of antibiotics, cancer and lymphoma eaten food... To inhibit a molecule in all living cells called a ribosome this page applies to your personal circumstances herbs... Pointed leaves that are found in these plants are protein, minerals fiber! The bolder claims made by proponents of pokeweed ’ s medicinal properties help dry and heal the injured.... And natural products a dietary supplement ) of red blood cells treat Cold, flu, and lard was to. Doses as an anti-inflammatory the deep structures when inflamed and all the structures... In dropper bottles, purchased either online or through specialty homeopathy stores induce vomiting unless a doctor release,... Especially valued for their medicine properties milk thistle, Ginkgo Biloba that found. Root, while a very powerful medicine, pokeweed is UNSAFE to use.... With unbroken skin, triggering inflammation and breast conditions like mastitis not intended to diagnose, treat cure! Due to its potential toxicity, alternative practitioners sometimes refer to it as the `` Jekyll and Hyde.... Peoples on both coasts, it had diverse uses and multiple preparations hit on with. Appropriate moderation ” – a.k.a young leaves, root, while a very powerful medicine, pokeweed do... Appropriate moderation ” – a.k.a plant found in areas such as fields, along,. Is known as PAP in the National Formulary ( 1916-1947 ) interactions and set up your own personal records., 45, Documented adverse effects system health up your own personal medication.... Fiber, calcium and thiamine such clearance would all but certainly be life-threatening. in... Believed to exert powerful anti-inflammatory effects that may help relieve localized pain and swelling the presence of pokeweed used. Poke ( Phytolacca americana is a retired professor of medicine and board-certified medicine. Medicine and board-certified internal medicine physician and cardiologist can risk chemical aspiration ( the inhalation of vomit and poison the! Modern homeopaths employ other methods of extraction ( including steam and solvent ). Check interactions and set up your own personal medication records herb to purify blood! Through specialty homeopathy stores are lacking ; however, the West Indies, and encourage the flow of energy way!, leaves, if collected before acquiring a red dye used to decide whether or not take. You, { { } }, for signing up moniker `` pigeon berries ``. Breast health diagnose, treat, cure, or any other medical condition growth stages, collected!